The Christmas movie.
What comes to mind are traditional tales like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol or other films that are jam-packed with merrymaking and song on backdrops of snow and tinsel to celebrate the holiday season.
Or that one Christmas movie they just keep making over and over on the Hallmark Channel and Netflix.
But sometimes we need a break from all that high-powered cheer. So here’s a list of 10 not-so-Christmasy Christmas movies for you to enjoy this holiday season.
Go is one of those films that follows different characters through their adventures while intertwining stories via a common thread. In this case, every story is kicked off by a drug-fueled rave at Christmas that goes horribly awry. Two young grocery store employees get wrapped up in a weird drug deal, two soap opera actors get held hostage for Christmas dinner by a cop and his wife who are intent on selling them on their MLM scheme, two buddies in Vegas have fun in a car chase and shootout, and other hijinks ensue. It’s a twisted tale of cops, drug dealers, car chases, and some kids just looking for a good time. Anything but a traditional film for Christmas, Go brings the awkward holiday laughs and reminds me how glad I am that I’m too old to have adventures like that anymore.
As the tagline says, “Life begins at 3 am.” Which is when I’m trying to get some sleep.
Stream: Amazon Prime Video
I will always give love to movies set in the city of brotherly love. This film actually takes place from Christmas to New Year’s in 1980’s Philadelphia, where two über-rich commodities brokers make a wager to see if upbringing or genetics makes someone a criminal. Their marks? Commodities broker Dan Aykroyd and criminal Eddie Murphy. Trading places as the title implies, Akroyd’s rich and proper Louis loses his money, his home, his friends, and his life, turning to Jamie Lee Curtis’ Ophelia for help. Eddie Murphy’s Billy Ray gets to go from small-time crook to living in a nice brownstone with all the money in the world and a new job as a commodities trader to set the stage. Elements of A Christmas Carol as each of them sees how life could have been? Oh yes. Drugs and Santa suits? Indubitably. Eventual double hero team-up to take down the 1 percent? Indeed. An over-the-top beach scene where the butler has a butler? For sure. Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in gorilla suits? Check.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with this old-school comedy classic.
Dennis Leary as a criminal on the run. After invading a home to hide from the cops and holding the owners hostage on Christmas Eve, he unfortunately finds he has picked very poorly. The family’s internal tension grates on his nerves, bringing us a response that could only come from Dennis Leary as he transitions from kidnapper to marriage counselor to unintentional therapist to … family friend. The Ref is dark comedy at its core. It features dysfunctional families at Christmastime, a couple on the brink of divorce, a kid who runs blackmail scams at school, an overbearing family, a criminal trying to get away, and all of the bundled craziness that comes with it. Is it Stockholm Syndrome? I don’t know, but it works.
“Mary, gag your Grandmom.”